We all know the phrase “what gets measured gets done”
Do you believe and subscribe to this?
To a point I do, but, I have seen this taken to very unhelpful levels in companies I’ve worked in and with. The list of KPI’s has become an industry in itself. Dashboard heaven for the number crunchers and the data curious.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the critical (key) indicators of progress toward an intended result. KPIs provides a focus for strategic and operational improvement, create an analytical basis for decision making and help focus attention on what matters most.
However well-intentioned this is often forgotten as with abandon leaders set new KPI’s, just because they can. I have seen on many occasions a KPI dashboard become the control point that creates inward focus and slows down sales growth.
Sales as your growth driver should be free of your internal measures and intense performance reporting, therefore, I’d ask you to step back and consider do you use the KPI’s that really matter to your sales teams.
What Is A Good Sales KPI
I’ve worked with sales KPI’s my whole working career and seen the good and the bad and in some cases the very bad. I’ve seen good results, bad behaviours and dashboards grow from three lines to in excess of thirty KPI’s.
With this experience, I reached a point of clarity on the purpose of a sales KPI, and here they are:
- The result expected from the KPI can directly be impacted by the person being measured.
- The KPI can actually be measured. It can easily and logically signpost and drive the next action.
- The KPI supports and drives behaviour that is congruent with your sales strategy and company values.
So before I share with you the Sales KPI’s I see as essential for your sales team, “The Four Mustketeers” I wanted to take you back to France and the 17th Century.
The History Of Our Story
It is in the swashbuckler genre, which has heroic, chivalrous swordsmen who fight for justice.
Set between 1625 and 1628, it recounts the adventures of a young man named d’Artagnan after he leaves home to travel to Paris, hoping to join the Musketeers of the Guard. Although d’Artagnan is not able to join this elite corps immediately, he is befriended by three of the most formidable musketeers of the age – Athos, Porthos and Aramis, “the three inseparable” – and becomes involved in affairs of state and at court
The French Musketeers: Musketeers were actually a common European military unit, known for carrying muskets. Their full name was “Musketeers of the Guard” and the unit was created by King Louis XIII when he purchased muskets for a unit of light cavalry.
A little know point to clarify is that D’Artagnan does not actually become a Musketeer of the Guard until two-thirds through the book. Since the story is from D’Artagnan’s point of view and he’s not yet a Musketeer.
The Characters In The Story
Let me introduce you to the stars of the show and highlight the characterises that connect directly to our sales KPI’s – “The Four Mustketeers”‘
Athos – The oldest of the group by some years, Athos is described as noble and handsome but also taciturn and melancholy, drowning his secret sorrows in drink.
Porthos – Porthos, honest and slightly gullible, is the extrovert of the group, enjoying wine, women and song. Though he is often seen as the comic relief, he is also extremely dedicated and loyal toward his friends and fellow Musketeers and stands out for his physical strength and size
Aramis – He is portrayed as constantly ambitious and unsatisfied. Despite his ruthless personal ambition, Aramis is an extremely loyal friend: in fact, his only mistakes come when he refuses to harm or offend his friends.
d’Ataganan – d’Artagnan’s role among the musketeers is one of leadership (his skills and brains impress the musketeers greatly), but he is also regarded as a sort of protégé given his youth and inexperience.
The Four Mustketeers Of Sales
In a sales world that is full of measurement and a modern selling world that brings in a whole new language of measures, we think it’s important that you help your sales team focus on the sales KPI’s and sales behaviours that they can control.
Naturally, they will have sales targets for revenue and most likely aged debt, amongst others, but The Musketeers below will help you drive a cadence and these are the numbers that members of your sales teams MUST know.
The Athos – CHURN RATE – the number of customers that you lose over time as a percentage over a set period and setting targets to make sure you know how many customers you need to reach your goals
The Porthos – HIT RATE – how many prospects turn into buying customers as a percentage over a set period. Knowing this will let you know if you are making the most of all of your prospects if you are targeting the right prospects and where SPANCOP you may be failing to convert them into customers
The Aramis – CYCLE TIME – How long does it take for your prospect to get through SPANCOP overall and how long does it take to get through each phase of SPANCOP? Knowing this helps to identify which steps may need speeding up or even slowing down!
The d’Ataganan – FORECASTING – Analysing past performance to predict future performance. This allows you to make solid future plans based on your actual past and create confidence when it comes to investment and priority setting.
Whilst these may not be new sales KPI’s to you. I challenge you and your team to articulate their numbers to each of these. Without these critical numbers in place your sales outcomes are built more on good fortune and luck.
The Maths of Selling
I clearly recognise that this is not the be-all and end-all of sales KPI’s. Actually, we have a whole chapter in our Plan.Grow.Do. Sales Training that is dedicated to Sales KPI’s.
We delve deeply into sales and marketing KPI’s and use our sales funnel SPANCOP as the backbone.
We believe that you should be driving sales KPI’s directly from your sales process and each KPI should umbilically link back to your growth plan and sales strategies.
As I mentioned a few times this connection often gets missed as the KPI dashboard grows.
You could unintentionally be confusing your sales team and slowing down growth.
Now is a very relevant time to make sure the characters in your dashboard have the personality of Athos, Pathos, Aramis and d’Artagnan.
So How Does The Story End
The Three Musketeers does not really end happily.
In fact, by the end, the tone of the novel has changed entirely. The epilogue informs us that Porthos and Aramis leave the service, and d’Artagnan is promoted over Athos.
The message here is, choose the right KPI’s to drive growth, don’t confuse the sales team by making them be responsible for KPI’s they can’t control and be mindful that the should drive the right sales behaviours.
I would suggest that you don’t want your best sellers leaving your service or your growth ambition being hampered because you pick the wrong Mustketeers.